Thanet Volunteer Bureau, Dover District Volunteering Centre, Shepway Volunteer Centre merge today


Make sure to check out the gallery at the end of the article!

A NEW VOLUNTEER Service was launched today (Wed 13 Feb) bringing together volunteer centres with more than 100 years combined experience across three Kent districts.

The arrival of Kent Coast Volunteering (KCV) was celebrated with Deputy Lord Lieutenant Paul Auston, dignitaries, councillors and volunteer centre staff and volunteers from Folkestone and Hythe, Dover District and Thanet.

The new service is made up of Thanet Volunteer Bureau, Shepway Volunteer Centre and Dover District Volunteering Centre. The three centres will remain but have been renamed the Thanet, Dover District and Folkestone and Hythe Hubs.

KCV offers a befriending scheme, which matches isolated older people with volunteers for activities including social visits, shopping and dog walking, a volunteer transport scheme, which takes people to essential medical appointments, shopping and to visit relatives, and volunteer brokerage, which matches people looking for volunteer opportunities with charities looking for volunteers.

It also run projects as varied as sewing clubs, DBS checks, training courses, a gardening service and a men’s shed.

CEO Kerry Smith said:

“This is about playing to our strengths and building on them to raise our profile and better position ourselves in a competitive funding environment. We want to maintain our role as the go to place for all things volunteering and we are committed to maintaining a local presence, so it’s business as usual at each of our hubs.”

She added:

“We are delighted to have Mr Auston representing the Lieutenancy of Kent and speaking at our launch today.”

The launch included an exhibition called Bags on Tour, a collection of bags decorated by clients and volunteers to be auctioned to support the charity’s befriending service.

Across KCV more than 140 volunteer befrienders help to prevent loneliness, 130 volunteer drivers make 17000 journeys covering more than 400,000 miles each year and more than 700 charities have registered their volunteer opportunities.

And KCV has a range of projects as varied as Thanet Community Support Partnership, which provides weekly social clubs, an over 50s forum, a referrals service, to Nepalese support group Stitch and Chat and Helping Hand for people in debt in Folkestone.

The new KCV online volunteer brokerage system launched today was funded by Kent County Councillors from Thanet and Dover District – Pauline Beresford, Rosalind Binks, Trevor Bond, Sue Chandler, Nigel Collor, Emma Dawson, Liz Hurst and Derek Murphy.

Find out more at the new website sponsored by Transform and launched today. Click on the hubs for services and projects in your community.

  • Kent Coast Volunteering, a KCV website and a volunteer brokerage system, were launched at the Astor Theatre in Deal on Wednesday 13th February 2pm-3.30pm with tea, prosecco, a light finger buffet, speeches and an exhibition “Bags on Tour”